So…what to write about this morning?
I ask myself this at the start of each day.
Five hundred words at least, I say, even if the answer to this question, so often, is “not much, really.”
Yes, there are often times that I emerge with nothing. And if you read this blog, you know, you know, you know…there are so many times that, for me, it’s just so hard. I look around, and hope that inspiration will come, and write words in the hope that something will come my way.
It does, eventually, but so many times, it comes not when I’m sitting there tapping away, but later, usually at a cruel an inopportune time. I am driving, I am in the shower, or, worst of all, I am in bed, at three in the morning, and I’ve forgotten to keep my pen or voice recorder by my bedside. No problem, I tell myself, I will remember this tomorrow, because how could I possibly forget this amazing cluster of words that are in my mind at this particular moment?
The answer: easily, and consistently.
No one really knows who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (according to the interwebs, people usually credit it to Einstein, but there’a no clear evidence that it came from him), but there is such truth in it, and therefore insanity lies in those moments that I lay in bed, ninety percent asleep, cradling this gift from my subconscious. It slips away as I fall back asleep, and there’a a definite feeling of those words leaving my body, going out into the air, presumably to make their way into the mind of someone else, who will think to write them down, and make millions on the gift that I was foolish enough to pass up just because there wasn’t a pen within reach.
Sometimes, however, I have been fortunate enough to write those words down. I still have two of them, safe in my journal, that came to me in a half dream involving Lon Chaney Jr. as the accursed Lawrence Talbot, bitten by a half wolf, half man creature, and doomed himself to transform on the nights of the full moon: “gypsy mischief.”
To this day, there is not so much an image as a feel to those words, of the old woman from 1941’s “The Wolf Man” leaning over a cane with a sparkle in her eye and a faint smile, telling Lawrence Talbot’s father, Sir John Talbot (Claude Rains) that fate is a gremlin. Again, it is not so much the image of that old gypsy woman so much as the feel of what she discusses, of Lawrence Talbot, now with this gypsy mischief in his life, a monthly chaos that comes ever closer with the waxing of the moon.
There are other moments that I don’t have handy at the moment, scraps of slurred speech when I had the presence of mind to record the ten percent of consciousness that allowed me to form words and speak them into my iPhone. Often they show synesthesia, words that mention the sound of the color red, or the scent of the memory of the birthday that I turned ten. What does it feel like, my ninety-percent subconscious mind asks….is that memory rough the touch, downy as cotton, or smooth and cool as polished marble?
I think about these things, the taste of colors, the sound of scents, the scent of sandpaper’s feel against my fingers, and hope that somehow they will find their way into some sort of coherent narrative.
And I put one word in front of the other. It is what I do. It is what I have to do.